Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Unknown Smith's Expedition Battle of Tupelo

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06157.07 Author/Creator: Unknown Place Written: Memphis, Tennessee Type: Broadsides Date: 22 July 1864 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Letter written by "F.H." (possibly Frederick Humphrey, chaplain of the 12th Iowa Regiment who was mustered into the regiment on 23 June 1864). "Letter from an Eye-Witness" details the victory of Union General Andrew Smith over Confederate Cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest from the point of view of the 12th Iowa. Narrative climaxes when "the tide of battle ebbs and flows beneath the hot rays of a July sun. Once more the rebel leaders urge their men to charge, but their men knew by bitter experience the men with whom they were fighting. Soon they break and escape to the woods." Goes on to say "Infantry, cavalry, and negroes have all served their country faithfully - have fought like veterans, as they are, and are entitled to their country's gratitude."


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Civil War, Military History, Union Forces, Soldier's Letter, Union Soldier's Letter, Battle, Confederate General or Leader, Union General, African American Troops, African American History

Sub Era: The American Civil War